Injured Soldier Saved Lives In Manipur Village. 22 Years On, His Gift - Light

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Colonel DPK Pillay (second from left) was shot in Manipur's Longdi Pabram village in 1994.


Guwahati:  Tucked in the steep hilly ranges of Manipur's Tamenglong is Longdi Pabram, a remote village of the Zeliagrong Naga community that can only be reached after trekking for about five hours.

Here, way back on January 25, 1994, a young captain of the Army while fighting the Naga insurgents displayed an act of bravery and humanity at the same time. He was tasked to drive out an insurgent from the village; during the offensive the terrorist shot at him and threw a grenade. He was critical, so were few of the villagers caught in the cross fire.

When the Army sent in a chopper to evacuate him, he insisted that two young children who were injured be taken to safety first.

The officer was saved and so were the children.

His act on that day has found a place in the legends of the Army - a Captain then, now a Colonel - Divakaran Padma Kumar Pillay, a Shaurya Chakra winner, decided to once again go back - this time with solar lamps to help bring light to the village which is yet to get electricity.

"This village and villagers are part of my life. I would be retiring from service soon, so I thought I should be part of something meaningful for them. Assam Rifles had decided to help them with solar lights," he told NDTV exclusively over phone from Imphal before starting an arduous day long journey to the village, over 200 kilometres from Imphal.

While for Colonel Pillay it is a pilgrimage, for the villagers it is the return of their very own - Pillay Pamei, as he is fondly called by villagers. Pamei is a Zeliangrong Naga surname.

On Monday, Colonel Pillay along with Brigadier RK Singh, the deputy Inspector General of Assam Rifles (IGAR-South), reached the village on foot with ten solar lights, 100 solar lanterns (one for each household) and 500 solar lamps providing succor to villagers, especially the children who can now study at night.

This was not the first time that Colonel Pillay had visited Longdi Pabram. During a previous visit, he also bumped into the Naga insurgent who had shot him in 1994.

This time, Colonel Pillay once again had an emotional reunion with Maseliu Pamei and Dingamang Pamei, the two children whom he saved in 1994. Now they have grown up.

"The locals expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Assam Rifles for visiting the village and literally bring light in their lives and requested their saviour Colonel Pillay to spend more time among them after his retirement" said a senior Assam Rifles officer over phone from Tamenglong, who was escorting Colonel Pillay to the village.

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